In news you didn’t know you wanted to hear until just now, Deadline Hollywood reports that Ben Stiller and Helen Childress, the respective director and writer of ’90s cult hit Reality Bites, are bringing the film to NBC as a single-camera comedy. The film, which starred Stiller, Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo, and Steve Zahn centered on the lives of a group of “slacker” Gen-X college graduates as they struggled to keep themselves afloat in the real world. Sound familiar for a lot of people today?
Lelaina (Ryder), an aspiring filmmaker, chronicled her friends’ every triumph and tribulation in the apartment they all shared on camera; she compiles this footage into a documentary-style program (remember, this is the ’90s, we’re pre-reality TV, kids) called Reality Bites that airs on an MTV-like network, which doesn’t really vibe with her roommates.
So by taking Reality Bites to NBC, isn’t Stiller kind of bringing the show that he mocked in film to life? I know it’s not Reality Bites the reality show, it’s Lelaina filming the reality show, but…is anyone still following me?
As for pitching this as a comedy, I don’t remember Reality Bites being particularly funny, but I can see the potential. The show could do well if it stays true to the film and relies less on the gimic of “look at how funny the ’90s were.” That’s the important thing here, people – Kids These Days will feel about Reality Bites the same way we felt about That 70s Show.
Ben Stiller, what hath you wrought?